Twin Humor: When a Dragon Slayer is Needed

The babies were at it again tonight, but that’s to be expected when they’ve been battling it out since their days en utero. This time the fight was over the pink pacifier… it would seem that the green one was not as desirable as the watermelon hue that Makayla was chomping on, so Abby jumped her. There was great wailing and gnashing of teeth as I pulled them apart. Man, twenty-two month old identicals are strong! That was a sign that an early bed time was imminent, and off they went.

Some days are like this.

Others are more humorous. Several days ago there was the incident with the vacuum. As an overly tired and less than motivated mom, I had managed to get the floors clean, but the vacuum had yet to be stowed in a less noticeable corner of my overly cramped abode. As it sat, docile and unthreatening, beside the twins’ plastic play kitchen, I went about with my cleaning routine—there are way too many clothes for me to ever get them folded, but I’m still trying.

In my peripheral, I saw one of the girls (they look too alike for me to remember which one) sidle cautiously to the purple beast’s side. I swear she looked at her sister and grinned. Before I could stop what I knew was about to happen, she hit the power switch and ran like the devil was behind her. Across the living room, into the kitchen, and under the table she dove as her sister collapsed to the ground, still beside the growling machine of doom. The piteous cries would have been heartbreaking had I, in the middle of a bad mommy moment, not been laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. Disinterested in the plight of her sister, Madison looked away from the previously riveting episode of Doc McStuffins to ask me if I could turn off the vacuum.

Remembering that I was the mom and thus was expected to save the day, I regained my composure and went to apprehend and slay the villain. Like a knight in shining armor, I swept the now soggy babe into my arms, hugged her tightly, and rescued her from peril.

There is never a dull moment, but at least I get a good laugh from time to time.

(PS- I’m still waiting for my cape to come in the mail.)

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And then… The Stapler Became a Whale

Some days just don’t go the way you expect them to. That’s probably true of every profession, but when you deal with the hormones and attitudes of hundreds, teens no less, there never really is a norm. Add in a student who passed (just barely, but it still counts) a test needed for graduation while another failed by one question and you get two girls in the same hallway, one bouncing on the balls of her feet and squealing while the other stands, looking at you for guidance, with tears streaming down her face.

Oh, how did I become the one they look to for all the answers… I feel so…

Toss in my seniors, who are so ready to be done with school that even a cut and glue project reduces them to sniveling toddlers. Their conversations, not quiet in the least, are unbelievable and reduce me to a fit of laughter…

Remember, Fulcher, YOU are the teacher.

Breathe…

Regain your composure…

And then I see it. The stapler, a cheap piece of plastic that usually doesn’t even catch my eye, is a whale! Not metaphorically. Not symbolically. One of my mature, ready to graduate and take the world by storm, seniors has drawn an eye on either side and positioned it so that it cannot help but stare at me.

I am Jonah.

I have been swallowed completely and all that is left to do is remain calm and wait for graduation. Oh, how I do hope it comes soon!

And Still I Weep

Facebook is a tool both wonderful and terrible. It brings fast information with no real details. In an instant, you learn of relationships and birthdays, scandals and successes, and deaths…

That was the news this morning.

In my eleven years of teaching, I have lost five students. Three left us in a single calendar year. I remember all of their faces. Teaching high school, I look for the college graduations and wedding announcements. These are things these children will never bring me.

The hardest loss, for me, was Sunshine. Her smile was so bright that the planets would realign their orbit to circle her. She was a leader from birth and never even knew it, a force so strong that I’m sure the devil himself shook with fear when she renounced him. I vividly remember our last conversation; I am so glad I stopped to talk. She changed my life and taught me more than I ever could have taught her.

I am blessed to have known her.

Her memorial was a parking space of flowers and an empty chair at graduation. Her legacy is so much more.

Tomorrow will be a day to hug my students when needed. A day to treasure them. To look beyond the frustrations of my work and remember that we only have each other here for a little while.

Rest in peace my students.
________________________________________________________________
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

A Bang my Head Against the Wall Kind of Moment

I’m a teacher.  It’s all I’ve ever really wanted to be (other than a mom, of course).  On most days I appreciate the fact that I have an opportunity to change the face of our future.  I realize that parents send us the best kids they have, and I try not to cringe when we are reminded of that every year before the kids return to the regularly scheduled program otherwise known as free, public education.  There are some days, however, where I want to invent a new code word, call in sick, and let the world fall apart while I watch the news in my pajamas to see how it turns out.

This is an example of one of those days:

Knowing that I have provided a study guide and time to prepare, I ask my teenaged bundles of angst to clear their desks for a previously scheduled test.  Three of them immediately begin their list of why they would ultimately fail and how it was my fault for not giving them time to go home and read the one short and incredibly interesting poem they missed because they were absent the previous day.  Attempting to keep my cool because they often stage mini-revolutions like this, I hand them the copies of the poem that I had already prepared for them and reminded them that they were going to the hall to read and prepare for this section of the test as a small group.  Thus, the scholars were happy…

The rest of the class, having prepared and feeling fairly good about the situation, began their test.  As the room became unbelievably quiet, we began to hear strange sounds from the hall.  It would seem that these three worried young men, in fear that they would not understand this poem if they did not master the “beat” (meter) that the poet had chosen, had turned it into a piece of performance art.  As they rapped the lines, and Alfred Noyes undoubtedly rolled in his grave, my previously silent testers began to laugh at their wayward classmates.

Shaking my head, I step into the hall.  Student 1 continues his ultra-hip-hop rendition of “The Highwayman” while Student 2 does his best 80s style beat box.  Student 3 assures me he told them not to do it.  Shaking my head, I urge them to stop and tell me what they understand.

 

Nothing…

 

I ask them to start trying to explain it all from the beginning.

Student 1 argues that I should not expect them to understand it if I won’t read it to them.

Returning to the room, I urge them to try again, this time reading it more like the poet probably intended for it to be read.  Leaving the door cracked, I can hear them taking turns, reading stanza by stanza.  Then a crazy thing happened!  Student 2, no longer impersonating a trap set, begins to explain to the others what is happening in the poem!  I wait… they read… Students 1 and 3 explain some more.  Who cares if the kids in the room are getting a total recap of the poem, the guys in the hall are learning!

I hear when they finish the poem and step out to guide them through the last few forgotten details. Student 1, no longer upset because I didn’t read to them, tells me something amazing.  It seems he now understands how this education thing works.

His insight:  All he has to do is pay attention and try, and he will understand!

YOU THINK?

(This explains why teachers are a little crazy.)

My Declaration of War, One Battle at a Time

The twins are napping (FINALLY) and so I must prepare for battle.  In my home, there is one constant: laundry.  Somehow adding two more children managed to quadruple the number of loads that the washer and I must tackle each week.  As I type, the washer and dryer are both at full capacity, and the love seat has been burdened with no less than five loads at any given moment since school began in August.  I’m pretty sure the babysitter must think I never wash clothes, but I swear that I do!

Saturday dawns each week with the renewed determination to clear the furniture of all of the clothes that have accumulated from the week’s washing.  I fold and fold and fold some more, and then finally manage to put away millions of tiny socks, thousands of princess dresses that have somehow not managed to clog the washer with their disengaged sequins, and stacks of boring but well used towels.  What I never manage to account for, however, it that as I am folding and diligently returning them to their rightful places in various rooms, more clothes are being worn and washed.  Spills continue to happen, and the clothes fairy has still not made an appearance.

I will fight the good fight, but baby sitter will still have to bear witness to items of clothing she would probably rather not see on the love seat.  (I’m so sorry, Rachel!)  Someday I will win, but that may also coincide with the day my three beloved children leave the nest for their dorm rooms.

Wish me luck.

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